Monday, December 29, 2008

Winding Down Another Year

Christmas has come and gone, we've braved a couple of ice storms already, and it's "full steam ahead" into 2009!

As we move ahead into the new year, I have contemplated making some resolutions. I asked Greg if he was making any, and he gave me a very firm, "No!" I told him I wasn't sure if I would make any resolutions/goals this year or not. Yes, I would like to get in better shape and keep us eating better and more healthy. Yes, I would like to finish some of the countless projects I have started - and start a few more! Yes, I would love to buy all the right antiques/collectibles and sell each one for a tidy profit!

But realistically, the future is completely uncertain - meaning, we don't know what adventures lie ahead... but we are ready for them! I'm not making any hard, fast plans, because I want to take life as it comes and try not to anticipate what is around the bend. I do know we will welcome TWO new babies to the family this summer - Jasmine's baby Timothy (we think!) in May, and Natalie, Darrell and Olivia's baby in early July. So that will be exciting.

I do hope we will eat better and exercise more. I do hope a few pounds will fall off... and a few projects will be completed. We are already anticipating some upcoming auctions and hoping to find great avenues for selling our treasures.

But mostly, we are hoping to enjoy each day to the fullest. We are hoping to spend time with family and friends, do what we do (and more) to serve God and our church, and enjoy this wonderful area in which we live. Will there be bumps in the road? More than likely. Will we be up to the challenges that come? Hopefully - and prayerfully! Are we looking forward to what the new year will bring? Absolutely! We hope you are doing the same. May God bless you and yours richly in 2009.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Robus Christmas 2008

Here are some pictures I took of the kids today at the Robus Christmas. I only got one of David Lee, and Chase was a "moving target," but I managed to get a few good ones. There are a couple of pretty funny ones of Chase - and they are not mis-takes... he POSED for them! He can do some pretty amazing things with his eyes!!!

The girls are Caitlyn - age 8 (red Santa shirt), Erin - age 10 (blue striped shirt) and Mecayla -age 12 (pink shirt). Click on any photo to enlarge your view!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

On a Cold December Night...

Yes, that is the MOON on top of our lighted tree, which Greg has positioned on the bluff behind our house. The moon is full, close, and beautiful at dusk - even without the tree. Leave it to Greg to think of snapping this shot!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Annual Children's Christmas Program at Church

Today was the day for the annual Children's Christmas Program at our church. The one group shot I got was a little blurry - could it be the photographer or the moving targets being captured?! At any rate, the program was great... the kids were adorable, and afterward I snagged a few pictures. Olivia was not in the mood for her photo to be taken, nor was Jude Herring. His sister Abigail, who was holding him, said, "We never get a good family photo!" Bless her heart... I think Jude had had it... he made a very brief cameo as "Jesus the child" late in the program, but that just was not what he wanted to do this morning, so I feel lucky he sat still long enough to get something in focus!

The angels with Olivia are her friends, Maygan and Payton Jarvis. You only see the side of Payton's head, but she was a cutie. I think this may have been her first Christmas program.

This was Ladd's first year to be an angel, and he did a great job... and he posed so sweetly for my picture.

The little LaRosa baby who served as Baby Jesus this year was adorable. She looked around wide-eyed and never made a peep. There is quite a bit of speculation as to who will be NEXT year's Baby Jesus, as several women in our congregation are expecting in 2009. Regardless of who gets the coveted spot, I know the program will be as cute as ever!

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Shack

My cousin Janette brought me a copy of The Shack a month ago. She said she wanted to keep her copy, so she bought a fresh, clean book and delivered it to me. Her explanation was that she had marked passages in hers and underlined and noted thoughts and left "post-it" reminders to return to various pages, and she wanted to keep her copy. When she handed me the new copy she said, "All I ask is that when you finish, you pass this copy or a new one to someone else."

I knew in reason that once I started this book, I would not want to stop, so I kept putting it off. I needed to finish Barack Obama's book, The Audacity of Hope. Many friends had asked, "Have you read The Shack?" I would reply that I had not, but it was "on my list!" I also needed to finish another book I was reading, How to Pray After You've Kicked the Dog by Terry Tekyl. Yes, I often have more than one book going (I have been reading a couple of others for years - yes, years!)

So, this last weekend, with both the prayer book and President-elect Obama's book completed (and greaty enjoyed) I picked up The Shack. Greg and his mother were in Iowa for a few days visiting relatives, and after a few pages, I thought, "this is not a book I want to read while I am here alone." But I also could not stop reading... and I thought, "Keep reading... find out where this is going." I read late into the night until I got so sleepy that I was not fully asborbing the story... and I knew I wanted to fully absorb every word.

It took me maybe 8 hours total to read the book over a course of two days. I know I will read it again - and again. I have questions, and I want to carefully read the book again and make some notes. But my eyes are opened to many things. I now have concrete answers for some of the questions others ask me about "Spiritual" things. I know that over time, more answers will come.

Do not misunderstand me... The Shack is not boring, dry, or an overtly "religious" book. It is at times very funny, and I have some favorite lines, but to share them would spoil your fun! I also have a very clear picture in my head of who should play the central characters in a movie... and I understand that a movie will happen eventually. It will be a blockbuster!

The shelves at our local Wal-Mart are lined with copies of The Shack right now, so I know it is readily available. I will probably buy several copies to share with others - it represents a powerful tool for witnessing and sharing God's love for His children.

From the feedback of others, I knew in reason that this book would impact me greatly. The gift of a copy from my cousin reverberated one of the pervading threads of the book... loving and sharing with others as God loves us.

The Shack is at first glance a very simple book... but on second and third looks, it is much more... and I am so glad I have been introduced to this story. God can use so many people - and so many media - to reach us... and I have to say, He outdid Himself through Wm. Paul Young and The Shack.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

November 5, 2008

It was a blustery, very windy, but beautiful day... perfect for celebrating our Mam-ma Polly's 96th birthday! Suzanne, Mike, Jasmine and I took her to lunch - at the hospital. A friend dining there found that ironic that we would take our 96-year-old grandmother to the HOSPITAL for her birthday lunch, but it IS one of the best places in town to eat. I think we all had fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, and spinach casserole. Mam-ma also had cole slaw and a roll. She passed around a huge piece of chocolate cake... I enjoyed apple pie! We sat and visited afterward and shared cards with her, and I think she had a great time... at least she said she did! She was wearing a new outfit the cousins from Oklahoma bought for her last weekend at our new STAGE and she looked very pretty.

When we got home, Mam-ma had a card in her mailbox from some former "dance hall friends" who now live out West somewhere. She was glad to get their newsy letter and the nice card. She was planning to nap, but I am betting she had a few interruptions as people phoned and dropped by to wish her well. (Remember to click on any photo to see an enlargement!)

After I left Mam-ma's I headed downtown to take care of some errands, and the trees were absolutely breathtaking. It dawned on me - "I have my camera!" So I took several shots. The first ones are Mom's sugar maples. (also notice in the third photo how yellow the tulip poplar in the front yard is!)... then Blanche and Maurel's trees, which include an elm and a dogwood. The orange sugar maples at the courtsquare are brilliant, and the last few are of beautiful trees around what used to be the "Wilkins' house" on Quitman Street. We are supposed to have a front and storms coming that will probably take out the bulk of our colorful leaves and speed us toward the bareness of winter.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Trick-Or-Treaters and Pretty Leaves

We had four trick-or-treaters... Ladd and Ada Choate, Olivia Norton, and our great-niece Erin. They were adorable, of course. Our niece, Cindy, sent a photo of her children, Caitlyn and Chase, from Missouri, so we have a picture of them to share, too. Ladd had a little "mishap" after they got to our house and before I got a photo of his costume, so I don't have any pictures of it, but he was a pirate! I think all of the kids liked the goofy glasses! Remember you can click any photo to enlarge. Enjoy!

Fall has definitely come to the Little Red River Valley... these were taken from our back porch this morning!